Vancouver Island, Canada

So… i’ve had many students… MANY who have asked… “Well, how long do you want me to practice this for?”  To which my usual answer is “I dunno… ’til it’s DONE!”  Self explanatory right? Or so you would think… Seguay

Recently i’ve taken up trail running.  When i first started running only about 5 years ago on a treadmill, i thought 15 minutes was a breakthrough for me.  No sooner had i been doing that when i realised that i should have a goal.  Victoria (located on Vancouver Island), the city where i’m located has a 10Km race every year where THOUSANDS of people… like 14,000 run.  I thought… hmmm this would be a decent goal.  Knowing that this was an outdoor race, i switched from treadmill to outdoor running.  After running outdoors, no one could PAY me to go back indoors to run.  Victoria is on an island where there are beautiful boardwalks with ocean and mountain scenes.  Why would i even consider doing anything different?  I then started mountain trail running.  Most recently i did a three hour run/hike with an ultra marathon runner.  “Ultra” runners run through forests, scale mountains etc.  I thought i knew the meaning of endurance until i did this.  At one hill, this lady running ahead of me just kept plodding.  I had this overwhelming feeling somewhere between exhaustion and vomitting that i thought… this is CRAZY!  Only problemo… we were halfway around the run.  So stopping wasn’t an option. 

Summit view

By the time we got back to the parking lot my thoughts had changed to… “Wow let’s do that again!” Funny though… you don’t often enjoy the fruits of the labour until you push through the difficulties.

Back to piano… i have this motto that i ALWAYS get raised eyebrows from.  I was recording in a studio this last week… a musical marathon of sorts writing and recording for World Vision.  At the end of one late session (until almost 1AM) i turned to the engineer on the project and said “Well… you can’t love it ’til you hate it”.  He laughed.  But the sentiment is true.  Until you knuckle down and learn how to press PAST the easy stuff… press PAST the fun… press PAST the feelings of “DANG IT! MY FINGERS DON’T WORK LIKE THAT” and continue on to strive to completion, you’ll never become proficient at the instrument.  Being a professional is one who puts aside feelings if not momentarily to accomplish the goal. 

There have been MANY times i’ve recorded under the gun, played in bands, finished scoring for some project… or even… for that matter, practiced as a kid some Rachmaninoff prelude for festival.  It’s all the same… endurance to the finish line.  And once completed, you can then enjoy the fruits of labour… you can love it after you “hate” it.